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Epidemiology. 2012 May;23(3):482-5. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31824d5d82.

Major life events as potential triggers of sudden cardiac arrest.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, USA. afwicks@uw.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We investigated the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in association with the recent loss of, or separation from, a family member or friend.

METHODS:

Our case-crossover study included 490 apparently healthy married residents of King County, Washington, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest between 1988 and 2005. We compared exposure to spouse-reported family/friend events occurring ≤ 1 month before sudden cardiac arrest with events occurring in the previous 5 months. We evaluated potential effect modification by habitual vigorous physical activity.

RESULTS:

Recent family/friend events were associated with a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (odds ratio [OR] = 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-2.4). ORs for cases with and without habitual vigorous physical activity were 1.1 (0.6-2.2) and 2.0 (1.2-3.1), respectively (interaction P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest family/friend events may trigger sudden cardiac arrest and raise the hypothesis that habitual vigorous physical activity may lower susceptibility to these potential triggers.

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